Free Things to Do in Key West
Finding ways to save money while on a vacation is always nice. This is especially true if you had to travel extra far to get to your vacation destination. If you had to travel a good ways to get to Key West, you are sure to appreciate this list of free things to do in Key West. This list includes a few ideas of free activities and where you can do them, as well as a number of sights and attractions that you can visit free of charge. So if you are vacation in Key West and want to make your vacation dollars go as far as possible, start by checking some of these free things before you make your way to the paid ones.
You can play Bocce at Indigenous Park in Key West every Monday through Thursday at 6:30pm. Bocce is a traditional Italian bowling game that’s popular throughout the Keys. Indigenous Park is located at White and Atlantic Streets, and play is seasonal and begins in February.
Visit Southernmost Point
This point is the southernmost spot in the Continental US, and it’s right in Key West. Located at Whitehead and South Street, the point is only 90 miles from Cuba, and the view is tremendous.
Every night, Key West celebrates a spectacular sunset with carnival acts, vendors, and of course, a beautiful view. Acts can include jugglers, fire-eaters, escape artists, and more. The celebration takes place on Mallory Square every night.
Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center
The Center is family friendly, and offers aquatic science and animal exhibits, including interactive exhibits and a reproduction of Aquarius, which is the only underwater ocean laboratory in the world. The Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 4pm, and is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas). Admission is always free. The Center is located at 35 East Quay Road, at the end of Southard Street. Phone: 305-292-0311.
Snorkel at Key West Marine Park
You don’t have to go offshore to get a real Key West snorkeling experience. You can snorkel at the Key West Marine Park located on the south side of the island, stretching from Duval Street to the White Street Pier.
Fish at the White Street Pier
The White Street Pier is a pedestrian pier that extends out over the Atlantic Ocean, where you can see shore birds and schools of fish on calm days. You can fish from the end of the pier and catch a variety of fish from grunts and snappers to redfish. The Pier is located at the southern end of White Street.
Key West Botanical Garden
The garden takes up 11 acres on Stock Island off College Road, and it’s owned by the city, so it’s free to everyone. It’s open from dawn to dusk every day, and it’s a great place for families to enjoy a picnic, watch the birds, or enjoy the beautiful plants throughout the garden.
Turtle Kraals Museum
The Turtle Kraals Museum is located in the Historic Seaport District in Key West. Visitors can learn more about endangered sea turtles, and for a fee, can interact with native marine life. The Museum is open between 11am and 4pm daily, and it’s free. It’s located at 200 Margaret Street, and the phone is 305-294-2640.
Historic Gato Factory
Cigars and the cigar industry were incredibly important to Key West’s development. This museum and exhibit on cigar manufacturer Eduardo Hidalgo Gato is located in the former E.H. Gato Cigar Factory building, which is now home to the Florida Keys Council of the Arts. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5 pm, and is located at 1100 Simonton Street.. Phone 305-295-4369.
Key West Cemetery
This old cemetery is a must-see, because of its historic graves above ground, and some very odd remembrances from early Key West residents. It’s open from sunrise to dusk, and you can make an appointment to take a guided tour of the cemetery. Admission is free. The Cemetery is located at Margaret Street at Passover Lane. Phone: 305-292-8177.
Bird Watch at Little Hamaca Park
Key West is a bird watcher’s paradise, and if you time it right, you can see up to 200 species of birds when you visit. This park is a wildlife sanctuary and attracts birds like heron and ibis, and it has a salt pond near Smathers Beach, too. The park is located at Government Road and Flagler Avenue.
Higgs Beach is near Old Town on the Atlantic side of the island, and it’s a favorite with families. There are picnic areas, tennis courts, and rentals for watersports. It can be crowded on the weekends. The beach is located on Atlantic Boulevard (between White Street and Reynolds Road).
Stroll around Old Town to get a feel of old Key West. Located in Old Town are bed & breakfasts, restaurants, shops, and lots of activity. The main street in Old Town is Duval Street, and you can begin your tour there, then head on to Whitehead Street, where many of the most well known Key West attractions are located, like the Hemingway House and Museum.
Audubon House and Tropical Gardens
This museum was named for wildlife illustrator John James Audubon and it contains many of his illustrations. There is a fee for touring the house, but you can enjoy a walking tour of the tropical gardens for free. The house and gardens are open daily from 9:30am to 5pm. The house is located at 205 Whitehead Street. Phone 305-294-2116. https://www.audubonhouse.com.